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INSTA-MD: Inflammation-based Stratification for immune-Targeted Augmentation in Major Depressive disorder

  • September 20, 2022

Unfortunately, some applied research projects within the biomedical field do not reach the patient due to a lack of industrial interest. The TBM program (applied Biomedical research with a primarily social purpose) aims to contribute to the development or validation of therapies, diagnostic techniques and/or preventive measures, through the funding of advanced application-driven biomedical research.

In 2022, 54 project propositions were submitted for TBM funding. After evaluation of the FWO expert panel, only 14 projects received funding. 4 of these projects are with VUB as a coordinator or as a partner. We would like to introduce one of these projects to grasp the importance of funding this applied research.

Current treatment strategies for major depressive disorder (MDD) are insufficient. Up to 60% of patients with MDD do not get better after two consecutive trials of first-line antidepressants. The cause might be found in the fact that immune dysregulation is both a feature and a cause of MDD. Approximately one-third of MDD patients have an immune-mediated subtype. They have a poor response to treatment and need targeted intervention. This is where celecoxib and minocycline come to the front. Both show moderate to large treatment effects with good acceptability in the total MDD population.

This project aims to identify patients with immune-mediated MDD and to prepare clinical implementation of immune-targeted augmentation with celecoxib and minocycline in patients with immune-mediated MDD. 

This project received a grant of € 1 198 000 and will be coordinated by Manuel Morrens (UA-UZA) with Seline van den Ameele (UZB) as a VUB partner.